Curried Red Lentil Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Greens

Both nourishing and sublimely satisfying, this thick soup incorporates fall’s first sweet potatoes with seasonal greens. Red lentils, which cook to a warm golden color, are available in natural food stores and ethnic groceries. Adapted from Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons.Serves: 6

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed
  • 2 large or 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons good quality curry powder or garam masala, more or less to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 6 to 8 ounces chard or spinach, any variety
  • Juice of 1 lemon or lime
  • Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and garlic and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 10 minutes. Add 6 cups water, followed by the lentils, sweet potatoes, and seasonings. Bring to a rapid simmer, then lower the heat. Cover and simmer gently until the lentils are mushy and the potatoes are done, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, wash the greens, remove stems and midribs, then slice into narrow shreds. Stir into the soup along with the lime juice. If the soup is too thick, adjust the consistency with a small amount of water.

Continue to simmer gently until the greens are just done, about 5 minutes for spinach and 10 to 15 minutes for chard. Season with salt. If time allows, let the soup stand for an hour or two, then heat through as needed.

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